Watch tugboat crew remove GVSU wind buoy from icy Lake Michigan

Date: January 5, 2014

Watch tugboat crew remove buoy here

 Chipping ice off Buoy                                               

Andrie crews use a fire axe and a sledgehammer to break the "spray ice" off the platform's bow. Photo: Arn Boezaart/GVSU

By Dave Alexander |
Originally published on

MUSKEGON, MI – The Grand Valley State University wind research platform has ended its three-year research mission with its dramatic removal from Lake Michigan in late December.

The GVSU wind buoy spent the 2013 season 6.5 miles off the Muskegon County shoreline between Muskegon and White Lake in Lake Michigan. Unlike the first two research seasons, bringing the 10-by-19-foot floating platform back to shore was a winter challenge, according to GVSU Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center Director Arn Boezaart.

As was the case in past seasons when winter ice conditions were non-existent in late December, the retrieval of the buoy Dec. 21 was done by the Muskegon-based Andrie Specialized crew of the 70-foot Meredith Ashton tugboat.

“This was a good test for the buoy and its equipment in some serious winter conditions,” Boezaart said of Andrie efforts to break the ice from the Grand Trunk Dock on Muskegon Lake to the channel while working in extreme conditions on Lake Michigan.

The bottom line was the electronics and the wind and environmental data collection equipment worked without a hitch, but the buoy itself was hampered by ice buildup, Boezaart said. Several tons of “spray ice” had built up on the bow railing of the platform, diving the buoy into the water and necessitating the ice removal before it could be hauled back to port, he said.

Continued on

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